Friday, March 11, 2016

1958 Sack Back Dress

The Sack Back dress spent a brief moment in time on the 1950s fashion scene. While couture silhouettes flirted with this silhouette earlier that decade, it wasn't until 1958 that the general public gave this style a try. Clearly it was a departure from the ongoing hour glass silhouettes that had continued for a decade. It was time for something new, and maybe a draped back might be it.

Great departures from the norm in fashion are rarely widely adopted, but often they forecast a trend to come. It's the early adopters who venture out in radical styles, risking ridicule and long looks. This back drape detail seems to have been mostly popular with a younger fashion crowd, rather than the older couture customer.

 There were other back fullness styles at the same time, mostly seen on back draped or blouson jackets, worn over very fitted sheath dresses. The chemise, with it's lack of waistline was also worn, often in a 1920's revival or "flapper" style. All in all it was a good time to try out styles where the waistline was de-emphasized.

The home sewing patterns here show what middle American women and juniors were sewing up for themselves. Several included here were widely popular, others are much less common. You'll notice that I selected within a narrow range of styles: fitted front bodice, loose or draped back feature. Many of these were made with fitted sheath dress patterns that had a decorative or loose drape sewn on separately in back.

Study Sample: This black lace dress represents the sack back look. This style is difficult to find, probably because it wasn't widely worn. This version has the same fitted sheath concept of the patterns shown, with a lace drape or cage in the back. There are separate drapes that fall from each shoulder to a low band that runs around the hip level.  Like so many of these dresses, there is a bow in center back at the bottom of the drape.

The dress also has wide hip pockets tucked in behind the hip band.  In the front, vertical darts create a fitted bodice. This would have been an easy dress to wear, while creating a statement as well. It is constructed from chantilly lace yardage probably of nylon over black acetate taffeta. This serves to create a smooth and firm texture and fit. The lace back drape is 'see through' and provides a light texture in the gathers.

The patterns I show here were found in the vintage pattern wikia. If you are unfamiliar with this resource, I started first in the 1950's general section of that website and searched through 1957 and 1958.  There is a search bar at the page top for finding specific patterns.

I show the following patterns:
Butterick 8743
Simplicity 2737
McCalls 4396
Simplicity 2708
Advance 8726
Vogue 118

This dress is currently listed for sale in my shop.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

So informative, Jen! I wish you would post more often (but I know you are busy.)